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Members of the International Organization of Integrative Cancer Physicians (IOICP) often see patients who have either been through the rigors of conventional treatment, or chosen not to go through surgery/chemotherapy/radiation because they have been told that they cannot tolerate it or because they have seen the damage done to others.
Often these patients come with depleted resources – physical, emotional, psychological, and financial. "We need to support these patients and rebuild them for the future while we treat the cancer today," said Annie Brandt, executive director of Best Answer for Cancer Foundation (IOICP is the physician arm of the foundation). "Each patient is individual, so some things work for one person but not for another. It is a very fine balancing act."
Integrative oncologists need a comprehensive toolbox to walk that tightrope. Some of those tools were on display at the foundation's 13th annual conference earlier this year in Reno, Nevada.
Enzymes and digestion go together like a horse and saddle, right? Yet perhaps just 1% of the enzymes in our body are used for digestion. The other 99% are the worker bees that put vitamins and minerals to work to speed up chemical reactions. These are the systemic enzymes; they circulate throughout the body.
"Enzymes are simple, powerful, yet often forgotten," said Donese Worden, NMD, of Arizona. "Sometimes we are so busy looking at the glitzy new therapies, we overlook the basics and enzymes are very efficient tools for cancer. For starters, using enzymes mean we help the patient to make more energy (ATP) with less effort."
In cancer, the powerhouse systemic enzymes are proteolytic (protein eating). The body manufactures trypsin and chymotrypsin. Other proteolytic enzymes such as papain, bromelain, serratiopeptidase, and nattokinase come from food or other outside sources. They can be formulated into supplements for healing purposes.
Proteolytic enzymes break down excess fibrin that has been linked to chronic systemic inflammation which feeds chronic diseases, including cancer. Enzymes are measured in units of fibrolytic activity, which means how much fibrin they break down in a set amount of time.
One school of thought has said that supplemental systemic enzymes contain molecules too large to cross the intestinal barrier. Yet studies showed that nattokinase can be measured in the blood after oral ingestion of a single capsule and that most proteolytic enzymes are absorbed.1,2
Studies have also shown useful modes of action. In colorectal cancer, systemic enzymes were found to prolong survival time and increase quality of life "by reducing both the signs and symptoms of the disease and the adverse reactions associated with adjuvant antineoplastic therapies."3 In yet another study, the use of systemic enzymes "stimulated the production of tumor necrosis factor-a in human peripheral-blood mononuclear cell cultures in a time-dependent manner."4
Research is showing that serratiopeptidase, for example, can interfere with adhesion and invasion of eukaryotic cells and biofilm formation in staph bacteria.5
Enzymes also help with a most important issue for cancer patients – quality of life. Clinical studies reported in 2008 demonstrated that "systemic enzyme therapy significantly decreased tumor-induced and therapy-induced side effects and complaints such as nausea, gastrointestinal complaints, fatigue, weight loss, and restlessness and obviously stabilized the quality of life."6
Cancer creates its own ecological system and biofilms are one of its survival tools. "These biofilms surround tumors like a cloak and can prevent the immune system from recognizing and penetrating them," Worden said. "When we use proteolytic enzymes to break down the biofilm, many therapies appear to become more effective. Systemic enzymes carry very little risk and are easy for patients to take."
Many people with cancer have coinfections, especially viral and fungal. Silver is a time-honored tool for combating infections. It is a nontoxic, broad-spectrum antimicrobial therapy with no known toxicity and no known mechanism for acquired resistance.
The medicinal uses of silver have been documented since 1000 BC. More recently, silver is increasingly used as a disinfectant, impregnated into a variety of medical devices to prevent infections and their spread.
The major mechanism by which silver nanoparticles have antimicrobial effects is by interacting with biochemical mechanisms in the bacteria and their cells walls.
A bioactive silver hydrosol can be used orally (under the tongue for 2–3 minutes), intravenously, in a nebulizer, as part of a rectal enema, instilled in the bladder by a Foley catheter, used intravaginally, in the eyes, and topically. Silver which has a positive charge is bound up by negatively charged chloride, and is processed through the liver's phase II detoxification pathway and excreted within 24 to 48 hours.
"In solid tumors with an active blood supply, bioactive silver hydrosol can work as an antiangiogenic agent by blocking new blood vessel formation," said Dr. Sean Devlin of Colorado, medical director of the Best Answer for Cancer Foundation.
But not all silver products are equal. Particle size and particle dispersion are key. Colloidal silvers and mixed salt forms can cause toxicity, including argyria, a benign cosmetic condition characterized by bluish or grayish discoloration of the skin. When silver particles cluster together, the body tries to eliminate them by excreting them through the skin and that leads to cosmetic discoloration. In products contaminated with salts, proteins, stabilizers, and oxidation, the silver particles tend to cluster rather than disperse evenly. These types of silver have little if any therapeutic effect.
"Buyer beware," cautioned Devlin. "You want a nano- and picoscalar pure silver suspension, meaning the silver is so small it hovers between matter and energy, proven through transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The particles are minute and uniformly dispersed for bioavailability and nontoxicity. In my protocols, I use Argentyn 23 hydrosol silver. It is one of the best antiseptics and has great tissue regenerative properties when used under the direction of a trained clinician. It is a staple in my toolbox."
In the 1990s, Dr. Merrill Garnett discovered how to bind alpha-lipoic acid and thiamine (vitamin B1) to the trace mineral palladium by way of an electrical charge. That led to the development of the unique dietary supplement Poly-MVA, which has become a popular cancer tool with IOICP physicians because of its positive effect on mitochondria and proper cell division.
A human being is basically a bag of perhaps 80 trillion cells that make up our organs and tissues. Inside each of those cells are hundreds, even thousands of mitochondria. Think of them as tiny power plants where ultimately food is turned into energy (glucose) for everything that we do – high energy for the body to do the jobs we don't give a second thought to, such as kidneys filtering the blood, to the more obvious jobs like pressing our foot on the gas pedal or running.
Binding thiamine and alpha-lipoic acid together guarantees they will arrive together at the start of the cellular electron transport chain where they are supremely qualified to enhance and protect the process of making energy (ATP) properly in the mitochondria.
"Simply put, when a cell starts to divide, the energy-making process alters and slows down, DNA unwinds, and the cell splits into two," explained Al Sanchez Jr., president of AMARC Enterprises Inc., which distributes Poly-MVA. "Then the mitochondria of the two new cells need to come back on line, start making energy properly, and get on with their jobs."
But it doesn't always work out that way. The body makes millions of "bad copies" or errant cells every day. Normally, cells try to repair themselves by engaging the p53 gene, messenger RNA, and other signaling molecules to trigger a cascade of events that starts the process of apoptosis (cell death), and the immune system is notified to dispose of them.
Cancer cells are abnormal cells that, for some reason, did not turn off or get killed. These cells still look to the body and the immune system like a healthy cell because they carry the same signature as the normal cell from which they were born, or perhaps they have managed to cloak themselves in biofilm. They hide from the immune system.
"Without the proper amount of energy, a cell cannot be repaired or thrive," Sanchez said. "Sometimes they morph, initiate, and stay stuck in a lifestyle that doesn't require normal cellular energy. It is as if they say, ‘I'm just going to burn some sugar and not worry about producing energy like normal cells do. I don't need all that energy anyway because I don't have to do all the jobs that normal cells do. I am just going to stay in this lower energy (hypoxic) state to live and reproduce." A major difference with cancer cells is that they make and use smaller quantities of energy, with little need of oxygen, and simply keep fermenting sugars and producing lactic acid. They don't utilize the Krebs cycle to make high-energy ATP. By binding thiamine and alpha lipoic acid together, Poly-MVA is available at the start of the normal energy making process to create an energy/oxygen-rich cellular environment. This creates less opportunity for cell division to go awry, leading in some instances to dysfunctional/cancer cells."
When cells are energized, mitochondria and DNA are better supported and protected.
Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and ozone therapies (O3) are an integrative tool which uses the same free radical killing mechanism that the immune system uses to eradicate foreign invaders. Cells make hydrogen peroxide to generate free radicals to kill errant cells, viruses, and bacteria.
"Hydrogen peroxide is cheaper for the patient, easier for the staff, and more user friendly in that a smaller needle can be used," said James Forsythe, MD, HMD, of Nevada. "I don't think oral peroxide has any value; it can be delivered intravenously. I am also impressed with some of the results of ozone. It can eliminate acute and chronic infections which often are part of the cancer picture."
"Oxygen, oxygen, oxygen is the key to healing because injured cells are starved for oxygen," said Robert Rowen, MD, of California. "Ozone, after it enters the body, breaks down into harmless water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2)."
Rowen recently taught medical teams in Sierra Leone, West Africa, how to use ozone therapy to treat people infected with one of the most virulent pathogens, the Ebola virus. "Ozone is one of the best ways to inactivate viruses," he said. "Viruses have lipids and proteins in their structure that are highly vulnerable to damage by ozone. There is nothing else out there that will kill bacteria and viruses in seconds. It blows a hole in the cell membrane and the cell dies before it can repair itself. I really didn't expect in two short days that ozone would kill the most lethal virus in the world, but it did. I think hydrogen peroxide would have worked also."
One downside of IV ozone therapy is that it tends to irritate the lining of blood vessels, which is an issue for anyone with vein issues.
Oxidative therapy is an inexpensive tool that offers a broad spectrum approach to a wide variety of chronic infections and cancer, and one that is easily utilized by an integrative physician.
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